Lee’s Dilemma
Avery Craven


* Dr. Craven is professor of American history at the University of Chicago. This paper was delivered as the annual address to the Virginia Historical Society at its meeting on January 19, 1961.

1 Dictionary of American Biography, XI (New York, 1933), 122.

2 Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: The Improvised War, 1861–1862 (New York, 1959), pp. 109–111.

3 Avery O. Craven, Civil War in the Making, 1815–1860 (Baton Rouge, 1959), pp. 3–32.

4 Nevins, The War for the Union: The Improvised War, Preface, p. v; J. G. Randall, “The Blundering Generation,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XXVII (1940), 3–28; Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution (New York, 1960), p. 483.

5 Herbert Butterfield, History of Human Relations (New York, 1952), pp. 10–14.

6 Avery Craven, Edmund Ruffin, Southerner: A Study in Secession (New York and London, 1932), pp. 169–170.

7 The material on the raid is from the Report [of] the Select Committee of the Senate Appointed to Inquire into the Late Invasion and Seizure of the Public Property at Harper’s Ferry . . . , 36th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Report No. 278.

8 Robert Penn Warren, John Brown; the Making of a Martyr (New York, 1929), p. 414. Warren is speaking of Brown’s statement of his intentions made to the Court on November 2. “Unhappily, every reference to fact in that oration was a lie.” Emerson said it ranked with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

9 Congressional Globe, 33rd Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, pp. 768–771.

10 James C . Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-six (Philadelphia, 1942), pp. 326–382.

11 J. C. Furnas, The Road to Harper’s Ferry (New York, 1959), pp. 326–382.

12 For a more extensive discussion of reactions to the raid, see Avery Craven, The Coming of the Civil War (New York, 1942), pp. 407–412.

13 Mary Thacker Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson; the Story of His Life (Boston and New York, 1914), pp. 190–214; Ralph Volney Harlow, “Gerrit Smith and the John Brown Raid,” The American Historical Review, XXXVIII (1932–1933), 32–60.

14 Charles Gordon Ames, The Death of John Brown: A Discourse Preached on the Occasion of His Public Execution, Delivered in the Free Congregational Church, Bloomington, Ill., Dec. 4, 1859 (Bloomington? 1909?); S. H. Taft, A Discourse on the Character and Death of John Brown, Delivered in Martinsburg, N.Y., Dec. 12, 1859 (Des Moines, 1872); the Reverend J. M. Manning is quoted in C. Vann Woodward, “John Brown’s Private War,” America in Crisis, ed. Daniel Aaron (New York, 1952), p. 115; James Freeman Clarke, Causes and Consequences of the Affair at Harper’s Ferry, A Sermon Preached in the Indiana Place Chapel, on Sunday Morning, Nov. 6, 1859 (Boston, 1859).

15 For this and other reactions of a like kind, see: James Redpath, Echoes of Harper’s Ferry (Boston, 1860); Ralph L. Rusk, The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson (New York, 1949), p. 402.

16 Harlow, “Gerrit Smith and the John Brown Raid,” American Historical Review, XXXVIII, 34–37.

17 Avery O. Craven, The Growth of Southern Nationalism, 1848–1861 (Baton Rouge, 1953), pp. 306–311.

18 Edward Channing, A History of the United States (New York, 1905–1925), VI, 94.

19 Butterfield, History of Human Relations, p. 21.

20 Stephen Vincent Benét, John Brown’s Body (New York, 1928), pp. 206–207.